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Race Against Time! Landlord buyers may not make stamp duty deadline

There’s another warning today that buy to let landlords wanting to expand their portfolio are in a race against time to seal the deal before the stamp duty holiday ends in March.

Buy to let broker Property Master is the latest to warn that delays throughout the property purchase chain are making it unpredictable to say when a completion can occur. 

Angus Stewart, the broker’s chief executive of Property Master, says lenders are hiking their mortgage charges because of the worsening economic landscape while delays are the order of the day. 


“There are severe delays generally with lenders sometimes taking weeks to respond to enquiries. There is a similar story with many solicitors. We have to remember with employees working from home and in some cases self-isolating the property market generally is struggling to keep up with demand” he says.

Stewart cites a series of delays he has encountered including a lender increasing their underwriting time from five days to three weeks and suspending their telephone lines, and another having an average ‘on hold’ time of over 40 minutes. 

One lender is now taking at least three days to respond to enquiries whilst others are yet to respond to emails and chasers sent over two weeks ago, he says.

And another lender is taking 10 days for a case to be looked at by an underwriter, while some solicitors have stated searches are taking two weeks longer than usual.



“More worryingly still we are seeing is valuers undervaluing properties and, in some instances, returning a £0 valuation on properties that we would not have expected to present a problem. We have even seen this happen on properties that we know would have been acceptable to the lender but when we've stepped in and challenged the valuer’s decision the lender has been unwilling to overturn what the valuer has said” claims Stewart. 

It is thought this may apply to some leasehold properties with controversial cladding, which has been considered dangerous since the Grenfell Tower tragedy. 

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  • Mark Wilson

    Borrowing money to buy a property, to let it to a person who may likely lose his job, who would then not be able to pay his rent, and then you can't get them out. OK, I am liking the idea of this where do sign!

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    • 21 October 2020 08:47 AM

    I agree with you......Believe it or not!!!!!!!
    Sarcasm included!!!!!!

    Mark Wilson

    of course you agree with me.


    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, so perhaps you may be right again some time but I don't think it will be the same day.

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    • 21 October 2020 09:11 AM

    Without an EWS1 form a property is effectively worthless.

    I have 3 flats which now require an EWS1 form even though below 18m.

    So that is MX gonna have to bankrupt me as I can't sell.
    The Freeholder will want to charge massive fees which I won't be paying.
    So that means repossession unless MX pays them.

    Fortunately I can be bankrupted as I have no other assets.

    But there are millions with unsaleable flats because of no EWS1 form.
    Then there is the cost of possibly required remediation.

    Even cashbuyers would ignore such flats as they would have the same problem when coming to sell.

    Consequently there are billions of value in flats that has been wiped out.

    If any flat has a facing other than brick etc then it will need an EWS1 form.
    Without one it is WORTHLESS!!

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    The only flats that I own are ones where I own the freehold of the property, and all brick built, never done leasehold, looked at some over the years, until I read the lease terms, then walked away swiftly

    • 21 October 2020 10:37 AM

    No doubt about it leasehold is a mug's game...........and I'm one of them.

    Shame I didn't have your perception at the time.
    I could have purchased 4 terrace houses.
    Was beguiled by shiney new flats..............................a fool and his money and all that!!

  • Matthew Payne

    With the average house price having been artificially increased by nearly £25k since the SDLT holiday was introduced, hence lenders are down valuing everything, I don't quite understand why anyone is still in a hurry to buy something now to save £4,500?? The only winners from this holiday will be the ones that had an offer accepted in the first month or so that it opened.


    I was under the impression if it was a BTL property, then you would be unable to take advantage of the Stamp Duty reduction?
    An agent told me that not only will you be unable to claim this, you will have to pay the increased duty that the government placed on second properties.
    I was told this by the manager of an agency in Wales.

    Matthew Payne

    BTL gets the nil rate like everything else, it's for all property purchases, but the 3% on top is still in place. Its not about claiming anything, your solicitor will simply pay the lower amount if you complete before March 31st.

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    Thank you Matthew.

    Matthew Payne

    John, its just occurred to me that if you were speaking to a Agency in Wales, that you might actually live there and be referring to a purchase there as well and the LTT as it is known in Wales. My original comment and answer was re SDLT which is the English version of tax. If you are referring to the LTT, yes BTL is excluded, and the thresholds and %s are different though as well, its completely different. If you were asking about SDLT, then its as per the above.

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    Don't understand this as far as I was aware SDLT was £15'000 on a £500k purchase before the Mr George Osborne doubled making say £30k on the same Purchase, now this so called SD holiday reverted it back again temporarily to 3% on second property, so that's what it was before they take us for right mugs I wouldn't be rushing to give them £15'000 let alone £30'000, how long is it going to take you to recover from that when Capital growth is very unlikely, income uncertain, regulations anti + rampant and the greatest recession ever on the horizon. Short memories about SD it used to be nothing on £125k then 1% on £250k then above this it went to 3% not like now 3% on the lot for second properties not exceeding £500k doubling again in March '21 not much of a carrot then just sticks.


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